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Last Ditch Racing: December 2010 Archives

46 days....

posted in JoMo's Musings by Last Ditch Racing


Notice today on Facebook kind of hit me upside the head. 46 days until Rallye Perce Neige!? So much for an, "off season." ;-)

To be fair, we've had a few months, as we sat out the Tall Pines Rally so that we could regroup. Trying to fit life issues into a full time rally schedule can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.

I was watching the new Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino vid about their 7 days from 100 Acre Wood Rally to WRC Mexico. We've had some weekends like that. In fact, we had one exactly like that a few years ago when we competed in WRC event in a pokey Peugeot 206. What a blast. I'll also never forget how we competed at the Rocky Mountain Rally and STPR on consecutive weekends. Two events, two weekends, two countries, two cars. Epic.

I know you're all thinking-get to the point, JoMo! Why did you decide to crank up the LDR submission page and craft a missive from the icy North?! I'd love to tell you it's earth shattering, but it's not. It's more of an introspective post, perhaps.

This time, it's about getting older and the process of trying to roll with that. Some of you have followed my mid-life fitness adventures over the past couple of years. Gym, personal trainer, cycling, kettlebells, martial arts-it's been quite a ride. Never having pushed my physical envelope before, I look to my trainer Scott to help keep me safe(and make me nauseous). He pushes me, don't get me wrong, but I've yet to injure myself training.

Now aging, that's another unknown frontier about as unknown as the gym was to me a couple years ago. This past summer, I developed a tremor in my left thumb. I jotted the day it began on my calendar. It's not that big or noticeable to others, but I can feel it. It actually started while I was seeing patients. I looked down at my hand holding the laptop and saw a vibrating thumb. I thought, "That's weird." Next thought, "That can't be good." What did I do? I did what anybody would do and googled, "thumb tremor." One of the first things to come up? Parkinson's. Runs in the family. Fan-friggin-tastic, I thought.

And so it went. Bloodwork, MRI's and several specialist visits later, I've been given the green light. I'm one of the, "worried well," as we in medicine like to call our patients who have complaints we can't find a basis for.

While it was somewhat flattering to have the most recent specialist describe me as, "fit," the whole business still leave me unsettled.

Why get so worked up about the whole thing?! I am getting older-I know what you're all thinkg-"it looks like you're getting younger JoMo," but the dates don't lie! ;-) I have a family and I need to make sure I can provide for them and be able to perform the duties of my job. Honestly, the biggest concern from a safety standpoint for me is rally. Why such a big concern? When Dave and I strap in, we're responsible for each other to the best of our mental and physical ability. I need to know that I'm not putting Dave or myself(or spectators, volunteers or other compeitors) at risk when I push on the go pedal.

So, what's the tremor? Apparently, "just a tremor." Fact remains that I never had it before and really don't want it now. Will it go away? Likely not. Get worse? How the F do I know.

Like in rally, the information comes in the front windshield and exits the back of your helmet and then is gone. A continuous stream that we process at a subconscious level. Sight, sound, sensation-information that we're even amazed we can process.

Same thing with life. Yesterday is yesterday. We can process it, reflect on it, stew on it and perhaps even let it dictate our actions tomorrow. But should we? I don't think so. I've really got too much to do today to spend time in yesterday. Slows me down too much...

For me, I prefer to be as simple and practical as possible. Like I tell Scott(good friend and trainer) when he's training me-"Tell me what to do and I'll do it until I throw up or pass out." It's not an issue of whether I can or can't do something, it's, "how much can I take?" I have no idea, but I know the human psyche is a powerful thing and we have more in reserve than we give ourselves credit for.

An anecdote I like to share(don't worry, I have plenty). Dave and I were competing in the Rocky Mountain Rally in Calgary Canada and we were transiting back to service. The scale of the geography is much different than here in the East, and we could see the service area across the valley, but never seemed to get any closer. Oops, that was a digression. Anyway, there was a bad noise from under the car. Transits let you focus on these things because there's not much else to do and, like in health, your mind wanders to worse case scenarios. Dave was pretty sure the transmission had gone wonky and wanted to pull over so he, "could check it out."

Trying to not to dampen his enthusiasm for auto repair in the middle of nowhere(or laugh out loud and hurt his feelings), I kindly asked him what he might do if he sussed there was something wrong in the nether regions of T-4 drivetrain. There was an awkward pause....and then he replied, "F-it, just drive it until it breaks!" We both smiled at each other and felt much less concerned about life in general. :-)

So, (long way around the barn, I know), how does this all relate to health and aging?

Personally, I tend to be very proactive about my health, for a variety of reasons. Some advice-when a medical symptom arises, get it checked out. Thoroughly. Especially if you're, "getting on," a bit. ;-) Since I've gotten the medical green light, it's back to pushing myself, which honestly is a bit difficult, as I'm still not completely convinced I'm fine. The mind is an odd thing and I think it'll take some time before I let that go. Live in today, JoMo!

Maybe I'd love to have an excuse to slow down? Always a possibility. My nature is to be pretty lazy, truth-be-told. Right now, I'm thankful this Christmas to be one of the, "worried well," and still be able to strap into a fire breathing mistress named T-4 and drive her as fast as Dave and I can make her go! I plan to continue pushing my body until someone(or something) tells me I shouldn't/can't. :-)

Merry Christmas everyone-thanks for coming along for the ride! Here's to a healthy and fit 2011! Cheers! John

P.S. The great thing about rally is that when we're racing, the car's bouncing so much it's like I don't have a tremor! ;-)